How to: fuel your runs and races

Man, this has been such a busy week! It was my first week back to school after spring break and I couldn’t seem to find time to sit down and write a new blog post…but I finally found some time today:)

Anything to do with running excites me, so writing a post all about how I fuel for my everyday runs and races sounded like a great idea! I run 6 days a week most of the year, and I have run for about 6 years now, so I’ve definitely got this fueling thing down. Once I switched to a gluten-free diet a few weeks ago, I tweaked my pre-race meals a bit, but overall I have eaten the same way for a few years now.

Pre-Run Fueling:

I usually run in the morning at around 7AM, so I don’t eat much. I stick to a half a banana, but almost always have a GU (I’m slightly addicted…I want to try to make my own healthy version. I like the caffeine and quick carbs.)

Banana in slices     Bananas seem to work perfect for me because they digest well and I can eat them 15-20 minutes before a run and still feel great. The potassium also prevents cramping. Some people can’t eat anything solid before they run, but I’m always hungry when I wake up, so I have to have something small like a half a banana.

IMG_1890   GU energy gels have worked wonders for me over the years…I know loads of people who don’t like them or can’t stomach them, but they help my energy level greatly. I take the tri-berry w/ caffeine on easy days and the expresso love w/ 2x caffeine on hard workout days or races. I take them 10-20 minutes before my runs. Sometimes I get sick of  the flavors, so I switch off between other GU flavors such as the vanilla, chocolate, plain, or roctane island nectar.

I occasionally need more food when I’m running longer (probably anything over 8 miles), so lately I have been grabbing a rice cake with a little sunflower butter, agave nectar, and cinnamon. You can also add a few slices of banana to amp up the carbs!


Pre-Race Fueling:

Two hours before a race, I usually always eat a gluten-free waffle sandwich with almond butter, raisins, agave nectar, and cinnamon. (So tasty!)

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The waffle sandwich has become my perfect pre-race meal because it has just the right amount of carbohydrates and also fills me up and leaves me feeling satisfied. I have never felt sick or heavy after eating one of these!

I also eat a half a banana about 20-30 minutes before my races if I feel the need to. Don’t forget to drink lots of water as well! (But not too much, my dad’s friend almost died of overconsumption of water!)

Expresso love flavored GU is also taken 15 minutes before my races with a few gulps of water.

Pre-Race Fueling (The night or morning before):

I try to eat a meal rich in carbohydrates two nights before and the night before a race. If you are running a half marathon or longer, you should start carbo loading 72 hours before your race, but if you usually run shorter races like me, you don’t need to overdo it.

A typical meal for me might be chicken, quinoa, and salad; chicken, brown rice, and salad; turkey, kale, and a large sweet potato; turkey, kale, and a baked potato; or a pasta dish with chicken and a salad (not pictured).

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If I have an afternoon race, I eat a carbohydrate rich breakfast such as oatmeal or kefir with berries, gluten-free granola, agave nectar, and cinnamon.

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I hope you enjoyed my fueling post!

What do you eat before your runs and races? 

Are you a GU fanatic like me?

When’s your next race?

Jenny (: